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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Film review: Jackpot
Film review: Jackpot Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 07:06

Jo Nesbo's Jackpot film still

Director: Magnus Martens
Cast: Kyrre Hellum, Henrik Mestad, Marie Blokhus, Mads Ousdal, Arthur Berning, Andreas Cappelen
Certificate: 15

Back when Headhunters came out in 2011, I laughed at the warped humour of the Nordic crime thriller, squealed at the bloody violence and promptly declared it “Nesbo-rilliant”. One year later, I saw Jackpot. I laughed at the warped humour, squealed at its bloody violence – and promptly realised I couldn’t just re-use the same terrible pun. Which sucks. Because it really is… also very good.

Magnus Martens’ take on Jo Nesbo’s novel sees likeable loser Oscar (Hellum) join a football pool with his ex-con workmates. One surprise win later and the four are stuck with millions of kronors to split between them. Needless to say, they start dying pretty quickly.

As the body count rises, so does the laughter, escalating from tense police investigation to pitch-black farce. The result is something that feels oddly like a prequel to Fargo, from Oscar’s kinda-funny-looking conspirators, led by Mads Ousdal as hilariously warped numskull Thor, to the oddball detective (Mestad), who looks like an evil Viggo Mortensen. There’s even a bit where they feed dead bodies into a wood-chipper-like machine, which turns them into bright red Christmas trees.

“Transferring of control… That’s how police interrogation goes these days,” explains the suspicious cop, milking his monologues – and his hair – for all the tension their worth. “Give control to the suspect, be friendly, and they relax and tell you everything…” Then he leans forward. “Me? That’s not how I work.”

That seems to be Martens’ approach too: at no point do we feel in control of his plot, which hurtles along, zig-zagging all over the place to reach a completely unpredictable conclusion. From the rapid editing and fast pace to the downright bonkers performances, the director deserves credit for making such a fun adaptation of the novel, comfortably nailing so many of the Norwegian author’s trademarks.

Just look at how highly Jackpot scores on the Jo Nesbo Bingo scorecard. What more could you want from a crime thriller?


Jo Nesbo Bingo - Jackpot




Nesbingo! Jackpot provides a full house of entertainment.




  • andreas cappelen
  • arthur berning
  • christmas
  • coen bros
  • fargo
  • headhunters
  • henrik mestad
  • jackpot
  • jo nesbo
  • kyrre hellum
  • mads ousdal
  • magnus martens